Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 15, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST

8:00 am
12/15/16 12/15/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the situation in yemen, more than 18 million people need of humanitarian aid. the figures are worse in syria,, ththat we heaear a lot more abo. the u.s. is heavily involved in the conflict in yemen, providing weapons in the form of arms to saudi arabia. crucially, they are also implicated in the refueling system. theyey hold huguge sway over the
8:01 am
involvement of saudi arabia and can stop the bombing campaign tomorrow if they decided to withdraw the support, , but they choooose not to. crisis isanitarian intensifying. unicef says one child is dying every 10 minutes in yemen. we will speak with award-winning journalist iona craig. then we look at donald trump's proposal to build a registry of muslims living in the united states. >> we did it in world war ii with the japanese. call it what you will -- >> you're not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, i hope. amy: he e will speakak with dedemocratic c commerce member e hondaa of c california who lived in a jajapanese american ininternment camps as a a child. and we will lookok at a "new yok times investigation looking at how the poor can often not afford the metaphysical programs which could lead to the criminal records being cleared.
8:02 am
all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynowow.org, the wawar ad pepeace report. i'm amy goodman. in syria, the chaotic evacuation of eastern aleppo continues amidst ongoing fighting punctuated by a series of short-lived cease-fires. this morning, the syrian civil defense, known as the white helmets, say a civilian evacuation convoy was atattacked by syryrian government fororces, killg one persrson and woundndig at least four r more, includinga medical wororker. on wednesday, the syrian army and its russian ally resumed shelling and airstrikes againint eastern aleppo, despite a cease-fire. this is a spokesperson for the un's secretary-general. concerned. is deeply about reports of fighting in aleppo despite the announcement of a cease-fire agreement last night. any continued fighting leaves thousands in the didirect line f fire. the safety and security of tens
8:03 am
of thousands of them in, women, and children still trapped in eastern aleppo remains precarious. we urgently call for a pause in fighting to allow people who for to leave safely destinatation of tirir choice.e. amy: the ongoing fall of aleppo is considered a a decisive batte in the syrian civil war. it comes after eastern aleppo has been besieged and bombardedd by goverernment and military forces. antigovernment activists have called the fall of aleppo doomsdayay, while russia h has described it as a victory against terrorists and jihadiststs. the bale hasas bn mamarked by polarized coverage by propaganda on both sides. on wednesday gone the syrian amambassador to the united natis was accused of lying to the un security council during a recent emergency meeting by showing a photo he falsely claimed depicted a syrian soldier helping a fefemale civilian n in aleppo. in fact, the photo was taken in fallujah and shows an iraqi soldier helping iraqi womoman in
8:04 am
june of f 2016. memeanwhile in sarajevo,o, hunds of survivors of f the years-old siegege of thehe city in the 1's gaththered wednesdsday in solidy with the civilians of aleppo. e> we know howow it feels to abandoned and forgotten.n. we remember how it is when there are no replies to the screams for help. today we stand united with a lelevel-syria, , and all other s werere people suffer. amy: morore than 10,000 pepeople died during a 1400-day siege of sarajevo. it was the longest siege in modern history. in the united states, donald trump's transition team is now attempting to distance itself from a 74-part questionnaire at the department of energy requesting the names of employees working on climate-related projects and the names of employees who have attended climate talks over the last five years. many have denounced the move as the creation of an enemies list. the energy department said earlier this week it would not
8:05 am
turn over the names. following the widespread pushback by both the department and environmental groups, an official with trtrump's transitn team said this morning -- "the questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol." president-elect donald trump met with a slew of technology leaders at trump tower in wednesday, including amazon's jeff bezos, apple's tim cook, facebook's sheryl sandberg, and others. the meeting was organized by trump transition team member billionaire peter thiel, who famously drove the news website gawker out of business by secretly bankrollingng a controversial lawsuit by wrestler hulk hogan against gawker media earlier this year. trump's adult children donald jr., ivanka, and eric were also at the meeting. trump's inclusion of his children in political meetings has sparked increasising concer. the topics discussed during the 90-minute e meeting were reportedly immigration, education, and tradede with chi. there are few details about the convnversation, howewever, becae
8:06 am
journaliststs were forced to lee the meeting after only a few minutes. donald trump has not giviven a press conference for 140 days now, or over four months. his last news conference was when he called on russia to hack hillary clinton's email servers. trump was slated to give his first news conference as president-elect today on whether and how he would disentangle himself from his vast business empire before taking office, but his spokesperson earlier this -- said earlier this week he is postponing it for sometime in january. a handful of republicans have said they made block john bolton from being c confirmed as deputy secretetary of state, if trump picks him.m. kentucky republican senator rand paul has already said he would block john bolton's potential confirmation, saying -- "there is something to be said for one of the top diplomats in the country being diplomatic." bolton was the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations under george w. bush, during which time bolton famously talked about lopping off the top 10 stories of the united nations headquarters.
8:07 am
trump's pick for secretary of state, exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson, has also sparked concern and pushback from both senate democrats and republicans, many of whom arare concerned about tillerson's close ties to russia. newlwly released documents have revealed retired army general michael flynn, whom trump has chosen as national security adviser, shared classified military information without authorization while he was the u.s. military intelligence chief in afghanistan. a secret 2010 military investigation concluded flynn inappropriately shared classified information with british and australian officials, including secret information about the cia. general flynn was not disciplined for the intelligence breach, and it is not known the extent of the information shared, because the investigation itself remains classified. new york city mayor bill dee blasio hasas endorsed minnesotoa congress member keith ellison as the next chair of the democratic national committee, adding to a chorus of voices supporting ellison as the future head of
8:08 am
the party. vermont senator bernie sanders has also backed ellison, who is the co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus, and the first muslim elected to congress. ellison has said he'll step down from congress if elected dnc so he canebruary devote all of his time to the job. labor secretary tom perez has also announced he's running for head of the dnc, and is expected to have the support of the white house. according to nbc unnamed u.s. , intelligence officials have said russian president vladimir putin was personally involved in the effort to meddle in the 2016 u.s. presidential election to help donald trump win. the cia has accused russia of intervening, and president obama has ordered a review of russia's role. president-elect donald trump has called the claims ridiculous. this comes as a "new york times" investigation has revealed the of the was aware a dnc computer had been hacked as early as september 2015, allegedly by a
8:09 am
team known as "the dukes," which the fbi says is linked to the russian government. "thehe new york times" investigation goes on to report an fbi agent called the dnc repeatedly to inform them of the security breach, but that thee party's tech-support contractor did almost nothing with the information, believing it might simply be a prank call. "the times" also reports the hackers used a relatively low-tech means of infiltrating the emails of top targets, including hillary clinton's campaign chair john podesta, whose emails were successfully hacked and then leaked over the summer, generating a slew of negative coverage of the clinton campaign. the tactic is known as phishing, sending an email to a user asking them to change their password or click on link in order to gain access to their entire account. john podesta in fact did change his password after receiving one of those emails after being advised to do so by one of his aides. meanwhile, yahoo has admitted as many as 1 billion accounts were hacked in 2013.
8:10 am
yahoo sasays the hack involved private user information, including names, phone numbers, birthdates, passwords and , security questions. in september, yahoo also admitted that 500 million of its accounts were hacked in 2014. these two hacks are the largest known security breaches of a single company in history. yahoo says it's not known who is behind the newly disclosed hack. philippines president rodrigo duterte has boasted that he personally carried out extrajudicial killings w while e was the mayor of davao. speaking on monday night, he said -- "i'd go around in davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and i would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. i was really looking for a confrontation soso i could kill" president duterte has long bee accused of overseeing death squads in davao, prompting human rights watch to call him the "death squad mayor." as president, he's launched a
8:11 am
brutal so-called war on drugs that has seen thousands of people killed by police and vivigilantes since this s summe. in news on standing rock, the justicice department says it wil not comply with north dakota's request to send 100 federal officers to aid in the ongoing police crackdown against native american water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion dakota accessss pipeline.e. ththe justice e departmentnt ha, howevever, that itit's gigiven training and technhnical assistance to local l law enforcement officers who have been sued for excessive use ofof force, including firiring rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and water r cannons inin freezig temperatures at the water protectors, injuring g hundredsf pepeople. in more news on standing rock, water protector red fawn fallis isis still in n custody and hada preliminary hearing monday on a fedederal charge of poesession f a weapapon by a fefelony. she had originally faced charges
8:12 am
of attempted murder of a police officer -- chaharges that werere later drdropped by mororton couy reportedly for lack of evidence. she'e's be i imprisoned d since october 27, when hundreds of police raided a frontline resistance camp. a video from that day shows nearly a dozen officers pinning her to the ground and arresting her. the video does not show red fawn fallllis with a gun. you can hear the sound of three pops in the video. in north carolina, republican legislators called a surprise special session wednesday with the aim of restricting some of incoming democratic gogovernor y cooper's power following a contentious and close election between him and outgoing republican governor pat mccrory. democratic lawmakers protested the surprise session, calling it unconstitutional. the north carolina repepublican lawmakers are e attempting to impose measures to require state senate approval for all of the governor's cabinet picks, as well as measurures to strip himf
8:13 am
the power to appoint university of north carolina trustees. another effort by republican lawmakers to back the north carolina supreme court appears to have been defeated. republicans were threatening to try to add two more justices to the court afteter the democratic african-american judge mike morgan defeated a republican incumbent inin the november election, tilting the court for-three to the democrats. the north carolina supreme court has seven judges for the past 80 years. in wesest virginia, a govevernmt worker whose art outrage after calling michelle obama an "ape in heels" is slated to get her job back, after being removed over the racist comments. pamela ramsey taylor was the director of the clay county development corp. she made the comments in a post in november after donald trump's election victory. the mayor of clay, beverly whaling, also resigned after responding to the post -- "jusust made my day pam."
8:14 am
and peru h has launcnched its ft daily national news broadcast in the indigenous language of quechua for the first time in peruvian history. millions of people in peru and many more in e ecuador, bolivia, colombia, argentina, and chile speak fluent quechua, which was the dominant language of the vast inca empire that ruled the region befefore the spanish coconquest. the broadcast is part of an effort to combat centuries of oppression against indigenous peruvians and d their languages. this is a clip of the first broadcast. >> how are you today, brothers, sisters, and fellow citizens a pleasant heart? i hope this is a good day for all of you. with a lot of joy, we're here to spread the news. we are joyful and we thank you with all of our hearts. the warm welcome our program has received. >> i hope it is a good day for all of you.
8:15 am
i am happy because i am here at the beginning of this news program. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. at least one child dies every 10 minutes in yemen. that's the conclusion of a report just published by the u.n. children's agency, unicef. the report also found that there has been a 200% increase since 2014 in the children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, with almost half a million affected. nearly 2.2 millilion childldrene in need of u urgent care. this comes as the country's health system is on the verge of collapse in part due to the ongoing u.s.-backed saudi bombmbg of yemenen. since the bombing began in march 2015, more than 10,000 people have died and 3 million have been displaceded in the confnfl. saudi arabiaauaunched itss
8:16 am
offensive to target houthi rebels loyal to the former president ali abdullah saleh. saudi arabia and the united states accuse iran of susupplyig weapons to the houthis. the u.s. has been a mamajor bacr of saudi arabia's bombing campaign. in 2015 alonone, the united stas approved more than $20 billion in military sales to s saudi arabia. s.-made munitions haveve rerepeatedlyeen n found atat the scene of saudidi-led bombings where cicivilians haveve been killeded. facing mountining pressure from human rights groups, the obama administraration announceded ear this week that the u.s. would halt the sale of some weapons to saudi arabia. white house press secretary josh earnest spoke about yemen on tuesday. some pretty significant concerns about the high rate of civilian casualties in yemen. many of those casualties have been, asas a result of operatios carried out by the saudi-led
8:17 am
coalition in the region. not alall of them. therere have beenen civilian casualties a as a result of operations carried out by their adversaries as well. and of course, the u.s. is playing a role in supporting the saudi led coalition. in light of the high rate of civilian casualties, the president ordered a review of the kind of assistance thahat te united statetes provides to the saudis as a undertake this effort. that review is ongoing, but there are a couple of steps that the united states is prepared to to change some of the assiststance that we prorovide. that includesefocusing g our efforts to support ththe saudis when it comes to e enhancicing r border security and or
8:18 am
territorial integrity. amy: josh earnest speaking tuesesday. while washington is halting the sale of some weapons to saudi arabia, the u.s. will continue to refuel coalition aircraft and provide inintelligence to saudi arabia. human rights groups are calling for a more comprehensive ban in u.s. assistance. to talk more about the situation , we're joined by iona craig, a journalist who was based in sana'a from 2010 to 2015 as the yemen correspondent for "the times of london." she was awarded the 2016 orwell prize for her reporting on yemen. she also received the martha gellhorn prize for journalism in . welcome back to democracy now! -- one yemeniport child dies every 10 minutes? >> this is a, nation of the humanitarian situation in yemen of malnutrition as well as access to medical care. this is from preventable diseases.
8:19 am
in the price of the conflict, yet the issue over the blockade of the saudis preventing food coming into the country when yemen relies on imports for 90% of its food. that, theo add to situation of the medical facilities in yemen, 58 hospitals, more than 58 now, have been bombed by coalition airstrikes and people just do not have access to medical care in a way they did before the war. and also, just the expense and the access of getting to places and getting people to hospitals and facilities has been severely affected by the conflict. this is preventable diseases and malnutrition combined come in creating a devastating situation for the children in yemen right now. nermeen: could use a little bit more about the blockade? who has imposed the blockade and what all does it include in addition to preventing food from arriving in yemen? puthe reason the saudis
8:20 am
their blockade in place in the first place was they said toto prevent weapons, particularly from they said iran going to the houthis who their fighting. that blolockade h has been eased somewhat. the u.n. is responsible for both getting into the northern areas of yemen amid the most populated areas, but the problem was on top of that, even once the folks were being allowed in, the coalition bombed best fit needed tohe cranes offload the food. now it takes a huge amount of time to get the food offloaded and it means any specific votes with her own grandson working to the food off. add to that a decision made by the yemeni government and president hadi, they made a decision to move the central bank of yemen, which had try to remain neutral through the conflict which had been in the capitatal sana'a under who the control, took a unilateral
8:21 am
decision of september the move the central bank of yemen without any planning whatsoever. the central bank is crucial to underwriting imports of food into the country by private companies. it meansns they are not able too that now.. you're looking at the prospect of basically weak supplies running out of the end of january without any imports being ablele to come in. in the next few weeks and months, does not look like the central bank will be able to get the system up and running into probably spring, march, april at best. it basically freezes the ability of private companies to be importing food into yemen. the situation is only one to get worse in the next three months. amy: u.s. military weapons are still coming in? first of all, why did it take the u.s. this long to stop supplying saudi arabia? explain what it is supplying and what it is not and how it is getting it through other countries. >> the crucial questioion, why d it take this long?
8:22 am
sayingdle of lasast year, 60% of the casualties were being caused by saudi led airstrikes. i think it came to a head at the beginning of october when it was a very high profile strike in the middle of sana'a that hit a funeral and killed over 140 civilians in a double tap strike. that was first responders being killed as well in a second strike after the initial attack. amy: what happened? >> this was a funeral in the middle of sana'a. there were a lot of who the dignitaries and senior fichtner -- senior figures. they had gathered more than 1000 people in one building. amongst those -- the officials were hundreds of civilians. that building was armed twice. i think that is what brought everything to a head and concerns from the u.s. government that they were going to be complicit in war crimes. .ounting evidence of war crimes i had seen it myself on the ground of civilian targets being
8:23 am
repeatedly hit. the u.s. now taking this decision to stop or suspend the sale of precision guided weapons. this does not mean they will stop selling them to other members of the coalition as well. this is a multinational coalition. you have the emirates involved, the uae as well. it also does not mean they will not stop selling them other equipment such as attack helicopters and supporting them militarily a athey've set for border contrtrol, but, , you kn, therere's no way they can n pret those weapons that are still bebeing soldsed inside yemen, anyway, and other members of the coalition still using bombs being sold. the british are not going to stop what they are doing, which is similar to the u.s. they have authorized the sale of over 3 billion pounds worth of apons to saududi arabia oveththe course of the war as well. there's no indication they are gogoing to stop doing that. nermeen: what about the u.s. still providing refueling to
8:24 am
coalition aircraft? how important is that? do you see any sign they might stop providing refueling? >> no. even when they maybe announcement about stopping the precision guided weapons, they said they will not suspend the refueling. if they stop the refueling, that would stop the bombing campaign literally tomorrow. logistically, the coalition would not be able to send their fighter jets to carry out without t their help. that is why people are pushing for more because if the u.s. government did want to stop the bombing campaign, they could do it straight away. this is the kind of halfhearted sort of effort by saying we're going to stop the precision guided weapons, backing away from being complicit may be in war crimes, but they are still heavily involved in actually the whole campaign carrying on. amy: i would like to turn to, by the british defense secretary michael fallon speaking on sunday, he emphasized britain's support for saudi arabia.
8:25 am
>> the government's view is clear. was saudi arabia is entitled to do is defend itself from these attacks. it has had its cities shelled by the houthis. it is perfectly entitled to defend itself and leaving the coalition to restore the legitimate government of yemen. amy: so why is the u.k. still supporting saudi arabia? how is the situation in yemen compared to what is happening in syria? >> on the first question, the british are actually in far deeper waters as far as the war crimes or concern because they are on arms trade treaty. in the treaty, it says if there is any risk that weapons could be used in violation of international humanitarian law -- that is pretty low bar, could be used -- then they should be suspended. anybody who is spent more than a couple of days on the ground in yemen can see it is not could be, it is highly likely.
8:26 am
even human rights watch and other organizations have found evidence of british bombs remits being used on civilian targets in yemen. absolutely they should be suspending. there have been various arguments put forward by the british government, including that if we don't do it, some of the else will -- which does not help them out when you're trying to defend your self -- amy: beaming, if we donon't do , someone else will make t the money? >> exactctly. this will l come to ththe situan now in the high court in the u.k. in january where this issue is being challenged by activist courts run to suspend those sales. with the comparison with sysyri, the humanitarian situation in yemen is far worse because it is the poorest country in the middle east and the result is an issue over malnutrition in yemen -- there wasas already an issue over malnutrition in yemen. there's no capacity to cope with restriction of food imports, as
8:27 am
i have our dimension. there is no middle class where people have disposable income in order to be of the pay to get themselves out of the country. inin the case of y yemen now, is pretty much an island. even fishermen have been bombed in their boats off the coast. which kind of rules out the option of going across the sea to get out of the country. and the border with saudi arabia , that is s sort of runnining te gauntltlet of peopleleanting to escape. situation inarian yemen is very much cut off from the rest of the world in that respect. with no capacity within the country of people being able to have a coping mechanism to deal with that.t. even impact the arab s sing in 2007, revolution the situation got bad. and that was just a year of unrest. now you're talking about two years of war, a restriction on imports, and that is why you have 18.8 million people in need of some form of humanitarian
8:28 am
aid, which is far worse than the figures coming out of syriria. nenermeen: can use a little e b- your suggested there is no resolution to the conflict in yemen without also addressing other conflicts in the middle east, iraq, and syria. and also whether, as some claim, yemen has basically become a proxy war between iran and saudi arabia. >> i think both of those questions run into each other. the conflict in yemen started as a war between two presidents. the former president saleh who use the houthi to take over the capital sana'a, between him and his then vice president who became the new president in 2012, president hadi. once saudis the got involved, because they see the houthis as an allied to iran and a proxy for karen, they then said into the power struggle. without those parties being
8:29 am
involved, saudi arabia as well, in the resolution, there is no way of getting to the intricate details of what needs to be broken down into a political solution. yemen, without removing those other parties, the regional parties, are involved in the conflict as well. that is why if the saudis are no longer involved in the military campaign in yemen, it does actually make a resolution toto the conflict i in yemen more possible and perhaps easier, because then you are dealing with local political dynamics rathther than having to deal wih regional ones. nermeen: what about iran, though? >> the claims of iranian involvement in yemen for many years have been really hard to find evidence of on the ground in yemen. i think it is very much overblown. there's a huge amount of ad about this.ad
8:30 am
there is not the kind of involvement use the in syria in places that are not iranian forces on the ground in yemen was stuck there have been more recent evidence in the last few weeks of age bill of the weapons grabs coming from iran and serial numbers popping up on the ground in the ground war. there are probably as many american weapons involved with hands in the houthis because much of the military remains loyal to saleh. the u.s. military has been providing support to saleh for years. amy: i what to read part of a "washington post" article in part about general james mattis, the main caps on donald trump to be the next secretetary defense. says -- "mattis lobbied for more introductions of ships and planes carrying iranian arms to battlefields such as yemen and syria, and mattis press for more covert actions to capture or
8:31 am
kill iranian operatives." talk about what yemen will look like within a trump administration and who, as trump himself, called him mad dog mattis is come the significance of what he is saying. >> i think there are a lot of unknowns at the moment, particularly because what has been said by trump in the run-up to elections was sometimes contradictory. and also this whole issue of being perhaps more sympathetic while the more hawkish to karen when ultimately there on the same side in the middle east. he really leads to a lot more questions than answers. the impression i have been getting from saudi arabia and rihadd is a think the trump administration might be more favorable to them. this means we kind of in a dead time between now and inauguration at the end of january where everyone waits to see what happens and that means political negotiations that had
8:32 am
already slowed down despite the efforts by john kerry now completely frozen. amy: that meanans one child evey 10 mininutes continues to die en yemen. >> and it will be more. i think it will be more between now and the sprpring. the situation is n not going to improve for them anytime soon. amy: iona craig, thank you for being with us.s. iona c craig has been based in sana'a from 2010 to as the yemen 2015 correspondent for "the times of london." come back, we will go to washington, d.c., as a muslim registry is being talked about in a trump adminisistration with the model being the japanese-american internment camps. we will go to a man who grew up in one of those camps. he is currently a congressman. stay with us. ♪ [music c break]
8:33 am
8:34 am
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. on wednesday, heads of the nation's top technology companies met with president-elect donald trump at trump tower. among those attending were apple ceo tim cook, facebook coo sheryl sandberg, and amazon ceo jeffrey bezos. the meeting was organized by trump transition team member billionaire peter thiel, who famously drove the news website gawker out of business, by secretly bankrolling a controversial lawsuit by wrestler, hulk hogan, against gawker media earlier this year. the meeting reportedly focused on jobs and the economy. but there is another issue that has been getting some attention within the tech world -- dononad trump's proposal to build a national registry for people from muslim-majority countries. hundreds of tetech workers have signed on to a pledge titled
8:35 am
"never again," saying -- "we refuse to participate in the creation of databases of identifying information for the united states government to target individuals based on race, religion, or national origin." amy: twitter became the first major tech company to say it would not participate in the creation of such a database. facebook has also said it would not help trump. a spokesperson for facebook told cnnmoney -- "no one has asked us to build a muslim registry, and of course we would not do so." last month, carl higbie, a spokesman for the pro-trump great america pac, defended the proposed registry for all muslim immigrants by citing world war ii japanese internment camps. he spoke with fox news's megyn kelly. >> we did it during world war ii were japanese, which, color what you will -- >> you're not proposing we go back to the days of interment camps, i hope. >> i am not proposing that at all. >> that is the kind of stuff
8:36 am
that gets people scared. >> i'm just saying there is precedent for it. i'm not saying i agree with it, but i absolutely -- >> you cannot be citing japanese internment camps as precedent anything the president-elect is going to do. >> if that means their people not protected under our -- >> who is he -- >> until we can n identify thehe true threat and where it is coming from, i support it. amy: among the many to criticize higbie and the trump team for proposing to build a muslim registryry is california democratic conongressman mike honda, whose family was placed in japanese internment camps during world war ii. honda said in a statement -- "these remarks are beyond disturbing. this is fear, not courage. this is hate, not policy." well, the u.s. government has issued a formal apology and paid reparations to some of the more than 12020,000 japanese-americas who were interned,d, two-thirdsf whom were u.s. citizens. two -- to talk more about one of
8:37 am
the most shameful chapters in u.s. history, we go now to capitol hill where we're joined by congressman honda, representing california's 17th district. congressman mike honda, welcome to democracy now! talk about your own exexperienc. when were you put in a japanese internment camp? where were you? who was in your family? >> i was an infant, the first child of my parents born in 1941. by the time february 1990 -- 1942 rolled around, i was honest a year old.. and my it was donald family, but the entire 120,000 americans of japanese ancestry were removed from the west coast into german camps. massive focused -- probably the higighest racial profiling ththat this country hs exercised through executive order.
8:38 am
nermeen: do you think internment camps of those kind d can be set up again in the u.s.? >> absolutely they can be. they talkeked about not only abt the current situation, but the past few years, politicians and other folks have been talkining about using i intermentnt camps types of approach to refugees and undocumented folks. theng the debate of immigration reform. it is a concept and a strategy that a lot of people use. nermeen: in an interview with abc's gegeorge stephanopoulos lt year, trump defended his proposal for a total and complete ban on muslims entering the united states. he compared it to the detention of japanese americans, germans, and italians under president franklin delano roosevelt during world war ii.
8:39 am
mr. trumump: what i'm m doing io differenent than what fdr -- fdr solution for gerermans, italian, japanese, you know, many years -- >> your four intermement c camp? mr. t trump: this is a presidedt highly respected by all. he didid the same thing. if you look atat what he was doing, it t was far worse. he was talking about the germans because we are at war. we are now at war. amy: congressman honda, can you respond to donald trump explicitly citing japanese internment camps as a possssible model?l? >> well, the reason that we came hr 442ugh the process of , presidident reagan signed it, the japanese american committed he had fought for virginia's, stated there are three reasons why the camps occurred. racial profiling, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership. basically, what the
8:40 am
president-elect is saying could be -- in my opinion, would be a failure of political leadership not only based upon ignorancece- it would not even be ignorance because he already knows about it. it is just complete irrational and stupid, if i may use that word, because what he is talking about as muslims, that is a religion. groups fromthnic indonesians, latinos come to the people of the middle east. muslim -- islam is a very large population will stop we're talking about japanese-americans, germans, and italians. we were very specific groups. racial profiling profiling based upon religion, they're both wrong. in this country, we should be protected under the constitution will stop -- constitution.
8:41 am
i think he was using a lot of the stuff not only to create fear, but to create intensity in terms of people looking at us and it is just creating a lot of animosity and undo fear among people in this country. programs like this will be very important so we educate people and make sure they understand that that is the wrong way, the wrong step, the wrong direction. it is very un-american. nermeen: on wednesday, the have nations top technology companies -- the heads of nation's top technology companies met with president-elect donald trump. you're the representative of california's 17th district where google and apple are based. what is your message to these technology companies? >> first of all, i i just want o say thee employees who had said "never again," i want to take my hat off to them and ask them to
8:42 am
continue to advocate and educate people one-on-one on one. that is one of the ways we can turn the tide around. to the corporate leaders, i would hope they would use the same common sense about how to go about creatingg policies and advising the country, leaders of this country, what direction to takeke and how to do that. the kind of things we are talkining a about is not only at immigration, butut it is also about the very foundation this country has been founded upon. and d that is mamaking sure all people who are on the soil are protected under the constitution. hopefully, when the president-elect takes his oath in january, he understands he is taking a oath to the constitution and of the government. that means he is swearing an oath to protect all of us here in this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. and that includes folks who
8:43 am
would misstep and protecting our country and protecting our citizens of this country under the title of national security. i just hope that we understand that clearly and make that clear distinction. amy: last mononth, congressman honda, a member of donald trump'p's transisition team froe kansas secretary of state kris kobach, who is still being considered for a top job, said the team is moving ahead with plans to reinstate a registry for immigrants from majority muslim countries. he is the architect of anti-immigrant laws. following 9/11, he helped design the e registry for immigrants fm majority muslim countries, known as the national security entry-exit registration system. the system was dropped in 2011 after years of criticism from civil rights groups. congressman honda, you also voiced your opposition to the program in a letter to president obama? >> yes. a muslim registry,
8:44 am
as au will, is, in my mind nonconstitutional person -- i'm not a constitutional attornney, but it seems to me it would be unconstitutional. people will say, well, it is under the immigration laws and all we're going to do is be looking at registering folks who are not citizens. but if you remember in the case of the japanese-americans, they assembled us and took us out of our homes and our neighbors and our communities. it is said, all persons of japanese ancestry come aliens and non-aliens alike. the government, even at that time, did not have the kurds to say citizens and noncitizens. in my mind, all persons on the soil have the protection of the constitution. they may say, well, it is under our constitutional purview to be able to do t this and be able to register and keep an eye on all
8:45 am
persons who are not citizenen. but it is what you do with that registry that concerns me. in world war ii, when they gathered us up, the government broke the login by using the census data, which is supposed to be private. i think we still have to be vigilant about what our government does. before we conclude, over the course of the campaign, a trump also repeatedly called terrorists.ees can you talk about the legislation you just introduced, the save the children act? >> certainly. the legislation hr6510. put aint is to be able to marker on for the next congress to let people know that we are concerned about children between
8:46 am
the ages of three and 10, and we want to be able to protect them and offer families who have children between ages of three and 10 were orphans to be able to be brought here for temporary security and comfort and be up to keep them out of harm's way. we must do that if we say we are charitable or even concerned about what is going on over -- overseas in syria. what can be more american than to say to the youngsters and the families, give us your children, we will hold them and watch them and take care of them temporarily until the civil war is over? i i think that is something we should be able to do. we are a country with limitless resources, and yet our efforts seem to be falling way short of things we can do as
8:47 am
possibilities, and this is one of them. amy: last you you tweeted a photo of you and your daughter, saying -- "as a proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild. i hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied." >> she is 10 years old now. when she was about 18 months, she declared to the family that "i am a girl," and when she was just about three years old she said, "i am a girl. my name is malisa and this is how you spell it. she show the consistency that told us this is something that we have to join her journey and make sure her journey is safe and secure. this is the kind of security and 80 i was thinking about when we talked about providing the children of syria and orphans of
8:48 am
syria, that kind of protection. it is no different. amy: can you talk about legislative efforts to protect lgbtq peoplele? the advocates are reporting the number of murders of transgender people in 2016 is officially the highest on record. at least 26 transgender people have been murdered so far r this year. can you talk about your efforts? thatll, my effort is one is joined d by many other people who begin to understand that transgender is yet another group of folks that need to be protected and to be in braced. it took a long time for people just to be comfortable with the idea the lgb's need to be protected and embraced and to understand them. this is no different. massive instructional
8:49 am
process. we have to start rethinking or reteaching ourselves the issue of gender, gender identity, and move away from what we call the binary understanding of gender, males and females. there's a great spectrurum betwn the two will stop this is the effort we are trying to do to make sure people understand that every child is different, every person is different, and they are a gift of god. amy: have you taken a position on the dnc race? or supporting keith ellison totom paris, currently announcng today? >> i endorse keith ellison when he said he wanted to run for dnc. i was a past dnc vice chair and i think he's -- keitith ellison will lend a great energy and direction in thinking so that we can go back and recapture the white house. amy: democratic congress member mike honda of california, we thank you so much for being with us.
8:50 am
when we come back, we go to a "new york times" investigation, who gets jailed? who remains free? and what is on have to do with it? stay with h us. ♪ [music break]
8:51 am
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we end the show today with a look at a "new york times" investigation into a program that's meant to give criminal offenders a break, but often puts them in debt. the program is called pretrial diversion. prosecutors across the country often offer deals to offenders to drop cases and expunge records in exchange for sometimes onerous fees. marcy willis, an atlanta single mother of five, used her credit card to rent a car for a man in exchange for cash. the man disappeared with the car for four months. and after willis found and returned the car, she was charged with a felony offense. as a first-time offender, willis was offered pretrial diversion at a cost of nearly $700. she was unable to pay the full cost.. willis told her story in a video that accompanied the "new york times" article "after a crime, the price of a a second chance."
8:52 am
>> i felt like it was all about money. so if you have the money, you prosecution. jail time. any of this, you know. i see every day how people can get awaway with duis and everything because they can afford to pay for it. they have lawyers. i had to get a public defender. if i had money, it probably would have went away. amy: the "new york times" investigation found -- "in many places, only people with money could afford a second chance. though diversion was introduced as a money-saving reform, some jurisdictions quickly turned it into a source of revenue. prosecutors exert almost total control over diversion, deciding who deserves mercy and at what price." well, for more, we are joined by the author shaila dewan, , national correspondent for the "new york times" a and reportern the series "no money, no mercy." welcome to democracy now!
8:53 am
really important series. we just heard marcy willis. talk about the contrast in your piece to rebecca according. >> rebecca was a woman who was chcharged with texting while driving and reckless endangerment i believe was the charge. she hit a girl who was riding her bicycle down the side of the road, causing brain damage and the loss of a leg. she was offered pretrial diversion. she paid about $1200 i believe, and is on course to have her case dismissed outright. this is a deal the prosecutor , fulfill with you these conditions that we will dismiss your case. in general, it is a pretty good progressive idea to give defendants a way out of the huge consequences o of getting a record. amy: except whwhen it is related to money. >> when money enters the equation, you find a lot of inequities him elected of us
8:54 am
between marcie's case were she did not hurt anyone. amy: talk about her years long struggle after that. >> it was gripping to talk to her about the spiral downward in the first thing that happened when she was charged when she lost her job and even if she had diversion, meaning her case would be dismissed, it stayed there pending while she completed the program. she did the classes. she did the community service. she just cannot come up with the final amount of money she was supposed to say. they said, we are returning you to court and prosecute your case. because of the backlog at the court, sat there for years as an open felony while she cycled through homelessness, joblessness. she is only now just beginning to get back on her feet. nermeen: to prosecutors have exclusive discretion in determining when to offer pretrial diversion and to whom? and how do they determine how much defenders need to pay? >> prosecutors have so much
8:55 am
discretion in this country. there is no oversight or higher authority, so they have a lot of say over their diversion program policies, who c can get it, whos excluded. not in every case, but often they said the fees. some states will save cannot charge more than x, other times they decide. amy: then you have the prosecutors often requiring the defendants plead guilty before they can be offered pretrial diversion. >> that's right. there's a lot of debate about this and criminal justice circles. essentially, it is a matter of the dnc. let's say i give you diversion and you then a few months later screw up i want to prosecute you. you have not done what you said you would do. i have to then mount a case against you, as i would have months before without diversion. say, i'm going to give you diversion, but in
8:56 am
exchange, you have to plead guilty so that if you screw up later, we just go straight to sentencing. it is a lot easier for the prosecutor, but those guilty pleas have a lot of adverse consequences for the defendants. nermeen: the money goes to the prosecutors themselves? >> it is different in every jurisdiction will stop in many jurisdictions, yes, the money goes to the prosecutor and can often be spent on almost any law enforcement purpose, which is very broadly defined. amy: you write that chicago is more successful. >> chicago has a incredibly well thought out program. the person who runs it has a clinical background, not law enforcement background. they have this wide range of available program so that it is really tailored to the defendant's needs. you got caught with cocaine once -- maybe you do not need six months of rehab. maybe you just need a little drug class. they try to really calibrate the
8:57 am
intervention to the defendant's needs. that includes connecting them to services like health insurance. you also find -- there is a lot of evidence that shows now that over punishing people or even requiring them to do too much has negative effects and can create more crimes. i think a lot of prosecutors there really believe in diversion argue it has a public safety goal. you're not throwing people in jail who do not belong in jail, that you arere a addressing ther issues in a different way. amy: can you tell us the story of jarvis bracy? >> jarvis was 21 years old riding in a car with friends. he was drunk. a police officer thought he was underage drinking. he pulled him out of the car. a police officer said when he spelled his name, he spelled it wrong. when he gave his social security, he gave it wrong, two digits off. that is not a big deal.
8:58 am
it could be just a misdemeanor. jarvis had unpaid traffic tickets. no criminal offenses, traffic tickets. so he was arrested and charged with a felony -- amy: how old is he? >> he is now 25. he was 21 at the time. he w was offered diviversion bee it was his first offense, but he cocould not come up with the money. it was more than $3000 to do diversion. he ended up convictcted and nows carrying a felony record around -- him for this drunken amy: are there any national standards? >> there are, but they are not binding. people have been really thoughtful and come up with standards of how these programs should work. you should not have to plead guilty, fees should not keep you out of it. but that doesn't mean prosecutors have to follow it. amy: we will link to your pieces. shaila dewan is a national correspondent for the "new york times." her recent series is called "no money, no mercy," which examines how money undermines reforms to
8:59 am
america's criminal justice system. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
9:00 am